The old people still talk about the day the missionaries took away my people, the Kunganyji, from the island of Kubarra, today called Fitzroy Island. Our island was torched, to force my people down to the main beach where they boarded luggers and the mission sloop and ferried them to the mainland. Turtle Beach was where they were supposed to settle, but this was not their land and soon Yarrabah community was built and most settled there. But it was never peaceful with so many different tribes.
They carried whatever possessions they owned in their handmade baskets. They were like refugees. I have depicted my great-grandmother Ginny Kuranda who lived on the island during this time and was forced to flee. The government used our island as a quarantine station and later for military training and a naval defense base in World War 2. Now the tourists go there to an expensive hotel and swim with the fish and look at the beautiful corals. We still know where the burial sites are and remember the stories of that island.
This print was commissioned by the Print Council of Australia in 2016